Azzi J, Dorival C, Cagnot C, Fontaine H, Lusivika-Nzinga C, Leroy V, De Ledinghen V, Tran A, Zoulim F, Alric L, Gournay J, Bronowicki JP, Decaens T, Riachi G, Mikhail N, Soliman R, Shiha G, Pol S, Carrat F, Ganne-Carrié N; ANRS-AFEF Hepather Study group.
Background & aims: Prediction of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) occurrence in patients with chronic hepatitis C (HCV) who achieved a sustained virological response (SVR) after direct acting antivirals (DAAs) remains challenging.
Methods: Among HCC-free HCV patients with advanced fibrosis enrolled in the ANRS CO22 HEPATHER cohort who achieved SVR 12 weeks after treatment with DAAs, HCC predictive models were developed using Cox multivariable regression. The derived score was externally validated in a large Egyptian cohort. Our main outcome was the HCC-free survival.
Results: During follow-up (median 3.05 years), 153 out of 3531 patients developed a HCC. Main variables associated with HCC occurrence were: male gender, HCV genotype 3, esophageal varices, albumin < 40 g/L, total bilirubin >11 µmol/L and hypercholesterolemia before DAA initiation, together with age > 58 years, FIB-4 index ≥3.25 evaluated at SVR. A score was established allowing the stratification of patients by high (score ≥ 12/22), intermediate (7 ≤ score <12) and low risk of HCC (score < 7/22) with 3-yrs HCC incidence of 18.96%, 5.50% and 1.65%, respectively. The integrated time-dependent area under the ROC curve (i-AUC) was 0.76 in our patients and 0.61 in the validation cohort.
Conclusion: The externally validated HEPATHER HCC score has good short-term predictive performance in HCV- patients who achieved SVR12 after DAAs allowing to identify high-risk patients in whom HCC screening may be cost-effective and low-risk patients in whom HCC screening may be superfluous in the first 3 years after SVR.